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I, the Jury ()

    Q: Who killed Jack?
    A: That is something I'd give both legs and one arm to know.  Just so long as I had one arm
         to shoot with

The private eyes don't come any tougher than Mike Hammer, nor the authors any tougher than Mickey Spillane.  Needing $1000 to but a house, the ex-serviceman Spillane knocked off this first Hammer mystery, basing his hero on a comic book character that he had created before the War.  This effort proceeded to sell 6 million copies and Spillane became a sort of beer drinking poet laureate to the millions of young men who had just emerged from the Depression and the war and longed for escape.

In this first entry in the series, Mike's best friend is murdered and Mike swears to hunt down and execute the killer:

    Someday I'd trigger the bastard that shot Jack.  In my time I've done it plenty of times.  No
    sentiment.  That went out with the first.  After the war I've been almost anxious to get to some of
    the rats that make up the section of humanity that prey on people.  People.  How incredibly stupid
    they could be sometimes.  A trial by law for a killer.  A loophole in the phrasing that lets a killer
    crawl out.  But in the end the people have their justice.  They get it through guys like me once in a
    while.  They crack down on society and I crack down on them.  I shoot them like the mad dogs
    they are and society drags me to court to explain the whys and wherefores of the extermination.
    They investigate my past, check my fingerprints and throw a million questions my way.  The
    papers make me look like a kill-crazy shamus, but they don't bear down too hard because Pat
    Chambers keeps them off my neck.  Besides, I do my best to help the boys out and they know it.
    And I'm usually good for a story when I wind up a case.

That he is.  And with the help of Chambers, an NYPD Captain of Homicide, and his faithful girl friday, Velda, Hammer pursues his own harsh version of justice and metes out deadly vengeance.  The series is quite enjoyable, as long as you're not looking for Shakespeare, or even Chandler.


Grade: (C+)


See also:

Private Eyes
Book-related and General Links:
    -The Unofficial Mickey Spillane Mike Hammer Site
    -INTERVIEW: (Michael Carlson , Crime Time Online)
    -ESSAY: You, The Jury (Steve Holland, Crime Time Online)
    -ESSAY : The tough guy vanishes (MAXIM JAKUBOWSKI, Chicago Sun-Times)

    -African American Mystery Page
    -Black Street Fiction
    -Crime Writers (David King)
    -Dangerous Dames: A Timeline of Some of the Major Female Eyes (Thrilling Detectives)
    -Edgar Award: Best First Novel
    -Film Noir and Pulp Fiction
    -A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection
    -Gumshoe Site
    -Hardboiled : online reference site for all things noir
    -Hardboiled Heaven
    -Hard Boiled Noir Webring
    -Martin's Film Noir Page
    -Mysterious Home Page Online Mystery Network
    -Mystery Net Awards Page
    -No Night Sweats
    -RARA-AVIS : mailing list devoted to the discussion of hardboiled (and noir) fiction
    -The Reader's Corner presents  Female Sleuths
    -Thrilling Detective Website
    -Twists, Slugs and Roscoes: A Glossary of Hardboiled Slang
    -Women of Mystery (Bookaholic)